The Poppies Dance

© Heather Knight

Winner, 2020 Nandewar Poetry Competition, Narrabri, NSW.

The click of shears and a golden fleece;
a soldier’s gun and the wish for peace.
A young man’s pride and a father’s fears;
a lover’s plea and a mother’s tears.

A call to arms and a Nation’s sons;
the stench of death and the German guns.
The constant march as the troops advance;
an ill wind blows on the fields of France.

A photograph with a silver frame;
a gentle kiss and a whispered name.
A farmhouse gate where a small dog waits;
a shearing shed where they drink to mates.

The endless mud and the duck board path;
the shells that rain and the aftermath.
A young man’s screams and the blood congealed;
a future lost on a Flanders’ field.

A table set with an extra plate;
a telegram and a soldier’s fate.
A young man’s life and a father’s fears;
a lover’s cries and a mother’s tears.

The rows of graves in a foreign land;
the marching men and the marching band.
The sons that sleep in the soil of France;
a cold wind blows and the poppies dance.

A photograph with a silver frame;
a silent tear and a whispered name.